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Work is making me sick

(7 Posts)
lizzieoak Thu 24-Nov-16 06:38:51

Not sure what's the best thing to do here. I took a job last spring and after a month had to go on sick leave as I got a really bad repetitive strain injury due to the nature of the work. In addition to that the work is very isolating and the hours are not at all what was advertised & said at the interview (was told normal office hours, but it's actually horrible shift work).

While on sick leave I was desperately trying to find another job but it wasn't going anywhere.

I've been back at work about 2 months now & while I'm working fewer hours they seem to have gone out of their way to give me more physically repetitive work than anyone else has. This may not be intentional, the previous two people doing this task fled & the supervisors don't quite grasp the staff are humans (not robots).

Anyway, I've finally started getting interviews and they all ask for my current boss' name for a reference, but I'm concerned he's peeved off my summer sick time.

The other issue is that my injuries are flaring up again & I doubt I can do the work tomorrow but the atmosphere is very anti-calling in sick. But they've caused it by loading me up w work I specifically said would injure me. I could do another task but know the boss would just send me an email saying "no" as he seems to think he's charged by the letter.

I need physio, rest & a new job! Anyone clever as to how to broach this w HR while I'm still there? Especially the issue of either sick time or different duties? There is a task that needs doing that would be a lot easier on my injuries, but now sure how the suggestion would be received.

insancerre Thu 24-Nov-16 06:43:41

How long did you have off sick?
I think you need to concentrate on finding a new job

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Thu 24-Nov-16 06:48:39

If it's a work related injury and you were off for more than 7 consecutive days, was it reported under RIDDOR?
You can report it yourself if they haven't. And I would. Urgently.

What kind of tasks are you doing now? What does your contract say your hours are? What risk assessment has been done for your RSI and how to ensure you are not further injured at work?

I'm assuming there is no occupational health provision? You need to go to HR and ask how the company are complying with the various health and safety regulations, and who submitted the RIDDOR and when. The company, if they have more than 5 employees, should have written risk assessments. If a task is so severe that it can cause RSI in a month, it needs to be assessed and reviewed.

I'm not a big advocate of legal action, but actually once you have a few more details, I'd look to a no win no fee company who deal with workplace injury claims and see what they make of all this.

I'd also consider reporting the company to the HSE if you're not happy that they are protecting their staff in the workplace.

lizzieoak Thu 24-Nov-16 11:52:53

Thanks both. I had an interview today so fingers crossed for that job.

Viv, I'm in Canada so the h & s rules are different. I'm very easily injured by repetitive work (it turns out - I'd never done this before @ this length) but the previous people doing this seemed okay. I'm a bit loathe to say what I'm doing, tmi & all.

The govt body that's meant to protect workers barely recognizes rsi's, so while I got some $ in my 15 weeks off, it wasn't as much as it could have been.

My dr had said initially that I needed to vary my duties - they came back saying that was impossible. I now know this is bullshit & I assume that was just inconvenient for them.

I think I need to go back to the dr's & email work in the morning & say I can't work unless it's mixed duties.

I'm so annoyed about this really. It's like they went out of their way to reinjure me.

lizzieoak Thu 24-Nov-16 16:30:36

As I'm not in the UK I meant more about the human aspect of approaching HR rather than what they ought to have done from the outset under law (as you might think "why on earth is she asking when she's in foreign climes).

It can be tricky conveying tone in an email, and I didn't want to come across as too demanding, but I've fired off an email reminding them of why I'm easily injured, my mystification over being assigned the heaviest work, & asking again to be reassigned. So we'll see what they say.

In the summer they had the weird habit of calling me all the time, which meant that my cell phone minutes were getting wracked up & also nothing was documented, so I had to keep asking them to email me what they'd just said, at which point they'd sound confused and say "you want me to email what we've already agreed on?"

This organization has over 60,000 staff so I'm pretty sure they know how to deal w these things properly.

Bimbop5 Fri 25-Nov-16 01:41:05

I'm not sure how to approach HR but I really feel for you because I was once in this situation. I did data entry work and ended up having extreme shoulder pain and then carpal tunnel syndrome. I did have health and safety come out to check everything was ergonomically safe. But it was just my basic body mechanics. I have hyper mobile joints so it was even worse and I worked very fast. My co workers had shoulder pain sometimes but managed to not injure themselves like I did.

WCB got involved, they came and videotaped me working. They ended up denying my claim, saying that my job couldn't cause this type of injury (lies). I had physio, massage, iced my wrists, took more breaks, you name it. But it was as though my body remembered and everytime I'd start doing the data entry my wrists would swell up. I was also in college at the time and it got to the point I couldn't even hold a pen due to numbness in my hands. I couldn't carry a backpack without pain.

So the really unfortunate thing was that I was on a temporary contract so they couldn't accommodate me somewhere else. So I had to quit. I stayed off work for about 6 months and then got a job in an office as a casual. I had a lot of flare ups at first but the job I was doing luckily was multi tasking.

I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome anymore as long as I'm careful to always multi task in my jobs.

I just wanted you to know you are not alone. I felt very alone when I was going through it. I was so upset at my body for not functioning as I wanted it to when others didn't seem to have the same issues.

Can you be accommodated to a different job within your organization? I am thinking that is what you are trying to do by being reassigned?

Take care, my heart does go out to you, it's a shitty place to be.

lizzieoak Fri 25-Nov-16 01:52:09

Ah, thanks bimbop!! That's pretty close to my situation. The agency tasked w supposedly protecting workers from workplace injuries told me that they never approve rsi's from office work. Frankly it feels like gender discrimination as they seem to protect people who work in male-dominated manual industries pretty well.

I am hypermobile too. It's a pain in the ass. I've dislocated my arms and Knees multiple times (then it pops back in on its own after loads of swearing).

I don't know what to make of it - do they not believe me or just don't care. It seems so odd!

They've now told me to go to the dr to get him to sign a new form but I can't get in for 10 days. Hey didn't say what to do in the meantime.

It's frustrating, I get frustrated at their attitude but also w being defective. It feels like they're thinking I'm skiving when in fact I'd far rather be working and earning than at home, in pain, & worried about paying bills.

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